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Gibernau gatecrashes Italian party

Gibernau gatecrashes Italian party

Gibernau gatecrashes Italian party

Sete Gibernau rampaged his way around the Mugello circuit afternoon to steal the limelight, the plaudits and provisional pole position on the first day of action at the Gran Premio Cinzano d'Italia today. The Spanish rider, who leads the MotoGP World Championship by ten points from Max Biaggi after three rounds, smashed the pole record at the Tuscan track by an impressive 1.705 seconds to leave top spot on the overnight pecking order out of the reach of former record holder Valentino Rossi, who's best effort today fell short by almost half a second.

The session was almost split into two as a heavy duvet of black cloud swept towards the hillside circuit at the midway point, forcing the riders to prematurely step up their pace before the sunshine returned to spark an exciting late dash for times.

Rossi's effort was the pick of a positive first day for Yamaha as factory colleagues Carlos Checa and Marco Melandri, keen not to escape the affection of the home fans, qualified behind Biaggi in fourth and fifth place respectively. Biaggi had held provisional pole for a matter of seconds in the closing stages of the session as Gibernau followed him across the line with his sensational time, with Rossi edging his rival to the outside of the provisional front row in third place in the dying stages.

Solid opening day performances from Honda trio Alex Barros, Nicky Hayden and Makoto Tamada meant that the only men inside the top ten who weren't on either a Honda or a Yamaha were Suzuki's Kenny Roberts and Loris Capirossi, vying for local glory on the Ducati. Capirossi and team-mate Troy Bayliss toyed with modified ‘03 and ‘04 versions of the Desmosedici as they look to decide which prototype to use in Sunday's race, the Australian lapping 16th fastest today.

Current World Superbike Champion Neil Hodgson qualified just one place behind former title holder Bayliss despite lapping with broken ribs and various other injuries, whilst former World Supersport Champion Andrew Pitt has provisionally qualified for the race on his return to MotoGP with Moriwaki.

Tags:
MotoGP, 2004, GRAN PREMIO CINZANO D'ITALIA, QP1

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